What is your story?

9:17 PM

What is your story?  How are you telling it to others and to yourself?  A life of painful memories can be a story of tragedy and pain or it can be a story of courage and strength.

The way we tell our stores casts a light on our being.  I think most people understand this but how can we transform that light if we are not able to see courage and strength in ourselves?  I think it must start with small aspects of the whole tale.  For a long time when asked about my childhood I would say I didn't have a happy one and would proceed to go through the long laundry list of the things that made me unhappy as a child.  This made me feel sad and as a result I stopped talking about it.  I left that sad story as I told it to myself and the child that experienced it as a whole mass of unpleasantness. I circled around it in my mind when the topic came up and detached myself from it whenever possible.  So why unravel the mass?

My children began asking me about my childhood experiences and when I told them tidbits of my sad story they became sad also, so I decided to tell them my childhood stories as a child would in hope of casing a different light.  I had to reach inside that whole mass to find that child and surprisingly she was not hard to find. I fact I felt she was happy to step forward.

Speaking through the eyes of little Anna, my narrative changed. She told them my stories in the light of the child I was when I was braving them instead of that of an adult looking back.  It's amazing where children find joy and in my self as a child I found it.  I was able to connect with the child inside me under all the layers of time and events to find hope and joy.  How thrilling.  The kids love her and love hearing about her.

Yes,  there was sadness but as a child I did not have a sad story.  As a child my story was one of curiosity, creativity, hope and innocence.  I didn't know that my life was sad, as I didn't have anything to compare it to.  Therefore,  I enjoyed playing with my sisters in the garden or on our front porch.  My favorite thing to do was to skip rope double dutch.  I was really good at that.  I loved to play with my dolls and may cloths for them.  I could saw and embroider thanks to my mom and dreamed of designing my own cloths.  I danced and sang a lot with my sisters and I would put on shows for my parents and the other kids in the neighborhood.  My older sister was a talented choreographer who taught my younger sister and I dances.  Yup,  on Sundays I was a Sold Gold Dancer.

I remembering myself as a child, when I was a child. I found happy stories to tell my kids and slowly the mass of sadness began to unravel and I realized there were unhappy events in my life but the whole was truly wonderful.  Now I have a wonderful story to tell of the fun things I used to do and when I'm reminded of the sad events, I feel the courage and strength that shield my inner child so I can still enjoy her today in the light of childhood joy.

Attached is the only baby photo I have and it is with my Big Sister who taught me how to dance and still inspires me to keep dancing through life.

-Anna Marie Stauss

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